What If We All Focused On Our Neighbor?

We humans can be a lonely lot!  With the advent of the glorious internet and the magnificent hardware to unitize its mystery and wonders…all to often our social well being is in our head or virtual reality.  Could it be that we have hundreds or thousands of friends on Facebook and a mere handful of friends that we actually speak to on a regular basis?

person woman tie hat

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Over my 32 year career at Southern Illinois University I regularly had colleagues say to me that they loved their job and did not know what they were going to do when they retired.  Upon further investigation I discovered that the heart of what they loved about their employment was their co-workers that they were privileged to interact with each day!

This afternoon we did some of our monthly shopping at Walmart in Carbondale.  When we entered the store I spoke to the greeter at the door and he answered with a happy and hearty hello to Mary Jane and I.  Later as we were checking out I noticed that it was the same young African American man that had greeted us earlier.  As I laid the rotisserie chicken on to the check out conveyer belt he said, ‘Only if you are planning on sharing!’  Theo”s eyes twinkled and he had a mischievous  grin on his face.  Theo made my shopping experience at Walmart extremely enjoyable!

adventure backlit dawn dusk

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A Sunday or two ago Jonathon and I were at church whereupon after the service and as we were visiting our fellow congregants, Lisa, patted me on the shoulder and asked how I was doing.  I immediately thought, what a nice person Lisa is!  Do not fool yourself…it has been and always will be…the little things that make the difference!

‘I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’    Philippians 4:12    KJV

I remember walking everywhere that I needed to go…because I had no car.

I remember being hungry…because I had no groceries.

I remember my pants being what we called, ‘high waters’, because they were to short for my long legs.

I remember friends telling me that I was a bit lazy…when I was working 16 – 18 hours per day.

All that I posses today is by God’s grace and I am no better than the homeless man or woman on the street!

grayscale photo of man lying beside tree

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Some of our political leader would have us believe that those who do not look like us or who have not been a member in good standing of our tribe…are to be feared and rejected!

Mary Jane’s aunt Lauretta and Uncle Merle moved to El Paso from Southern Illinois many years ago.  We visited them on 10 – 15 occasions over the years.  El Paso was one of the safest and friendly cities that I have encountered.  Hispanic people are lovely and kind people.  They are a cultured and peaceful people.  They are a welcoming people.

Actually Juarez and El Paso are the same city divide by their countries demarcations.    We visited Juarez on numerous occasions and were treated with warmth and respect.

grayscale photo of group of children

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I watched a PBS documentary about Woodstock which occurred 50 years ago this year.  The piece illustrated that the magic of Woodstock was the camaraderie and fellowship that those in attendance felt for each other and their mutual respect for the beautiful music that they were all consuming.  For three days they became a world set apart from the stress of the war in Vietnam and the lies of their political leaders.  They cared for each other and they loved each other and they had a brief taste of what a peaceful community of humanity could be.


So, for many years I have worked alongside and worshipped with many people.  Always I look for the genuine and the real and the authentic expression of another human being.  The pro-forma formalities of communication are, at times, exhausting…but the real communication from the soul of another who is sharing this walk back to Jerusalem…is profound!



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